iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Full Comparison – Which Is the Better iPhone?

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is Apple‘s latest top-of-the-line flagship smartphone, but its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, remains an exceptional model. So should you upgrade or pass on the new iPhone? This in-depth comparison examines all that‘s new with the iPhone 14 Pro Max and how it compares to the iPhone 13 Pro Max across key areas including design, display, cameras, battery life, performance, features, and more.

Overview of the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Comparison

When looking at the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs the iPhone 13 Pro Max, there are quite a few similarities on paper and in terms of the exterior design. Both have stainless steel and glass builds with 6.7-inch OLED 120Hz displays. They are also nearly identical in physical dimensions.

However, there are some notable upgrades with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This includes the all new A16 Bionic chip, a 48MP main camera (up from 12MP), and several exclusive features like Emergency SOS via satellite, car crash detection, and an Always-On display.

Here is a peek at the key specs and features of each model:

iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • A16 Bionic Chip
  • 6.7" Super Retina XDR display (2796 x 1290) 120Hz
  • 48MP Main / 12MP Ultrawide / 12MP Telephoto rear cameras
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera
  • Up to 1TB storage, 6GB RAM
  • Li-Ion 4323 mAh battery
  • Built-in Crash Detection and Emergency SOS
  • Always-On Display
  • iOS 16

iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • A15 Bionic Chip
  • 6.7" Super Retina XDR display (2778 x 1284) 120Hz
  • 12MP Wide / 12MP Ultrawide / 12MP Telephoto rear cameras
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera
  • Up to 1TB storage, 6GB RAM
  • Li-Ion 4352 mAh battery
  • iOS 16

While the new iPhone 14 Pro Max sports a slightly smaller battery, Apple promises similar battery life estimates in terms of video playback and other usage between the models. However, real world testing will be required to confirm any actual battery life differences.

But first, let‘s dive deeper into how these two premium iPhone flagships compare across the major categories.

Design and Display

Visually, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max look nearly identical in design and even physical measurements and weight. Each has:

  • Stainless steel frame
  • Textured matte glass back
  • 6.33 in x 3.05 in x 0.31 inches dimensions (~ 6.3 ounce weight)
  • Rounded corners and sides
  • Three color options: Space black, silver, gold

Apple‘s focus for the iPhone 14 Pro Max instead centers around the changes to the display. Most notably, the updated model features:

  • New pill + hole punch cutout front-facing camera (aka "Dynamic Island") design
  • Always-on display support
  • 2000 nits peak HDR brightness (up from 1300 nits)

These display enhancements bring a slightly more modern look to the phone and enable additional functionality. However, the core display capabilities remain the same between the two generations.

Display commonalities:

  • 6.7 inch flexible OLED, Super Retina XDR display
  • 2796 x 1290 resolution (14 Pro Max), 2778 x 1284 resolution (13 Pro Max)
  • 460 ppi pixel density
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate with LTPO
  • HDR10 and Dolby Vision

Ultimately the switch to the pill + hole punch front camera cutout (replacing the thicker notch) on the 14 Pro Max gives it a more updated look than the 13 Pro Max. But for those not bothered by the old notch design, the rest of the display capabilities are on par between the phones.

Verdict: The Always-On display and 2000 nit peak brightness give the iPhone 14 Pro Max a slight edge, but overall the displays are very comparable between the models apart from design aesthetic preferences.


Apple put heavy emphasis on upgrading the camera system for the iPhone 14 Pro Max over its predecessor. This includes:

  • New 48MP main camera (up from 12MP)
  • Quad pixel sensor enabling both 48MP and 12MP photos
  • Up to 2x improved low light performance

Based on these upgrades, the iPhone 14 Pro Max does deliver noticeably better detail, sharpness, and low light capabilities versus the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

However, in brighter conditions and for zoom shots, the performance is still very comparable between the two model‘s triple camera arrays:

  • 48MP Main (14 Pro Max), 12MP Main (13 Pro Max)
  • 12MP Ultrawide
  • 12MP 3x Telephoto

The front TrueDepth selfie camera sees a bump up to an f/1.9 aperture (from f/2.2) as well on the 14 Pro Max. Enabling slightly better performance. But the sensor remains 12MP on both models.

Verdict: The iPhone 14 Pro Max brings a sizable upgrade with its new 48MP main camera and improved low light capabilities. Making it the clear winner for cameras and photography. But the 13 Pro Max still excels as well.

Performance and Battery Life

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has the new A16 Bionic processor while the 13 Pro Max runs on the still fast A15 chipset. In terms of benchmarks, the A16 does show roughly a 10-15% gain in compute and graphics power over its predecessor.

So on paper, the iPhone 14 Pro Max CPU and GPU speeds are measurably ahead of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. However, in real world use, both chipsets still blazingly fast with exceptional performance for demanding apps and games.

What about battery life? Apple claims roughly equal video playback and battery runtimes between the models. But upgraded components in the 14 Pro Max such as the 48MP camera and Always-on display seem like they may counteract any battery efficiency gains.

More extensive testing in this area is still required. But users can likely expect very comparable battery life overall between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max models during typical daily usage.

Both phones also offer:

  • 20W fast wired charging
  • 15W MagSafe wireless charging
  • Ability to charge up to 50% in 30 minutes

Verdict: The iPhone 14 Pro Max sees a performance boost thanks to the A16 chip but real-world speed is unlikely to be noticeably faster for most users coming from an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Battery life is also similarly rated between the models per Apple but thorough tests remain pending.

Exclusive New Features

The iPhone 14 Pro Max differentiates itself from its predecessor by introducing several completely new features not available on any older iPhone models. Most notably:

Always-On Display

The 14 Pro Max‘s Always-On display keeps key info such as date, widgets, notifications and wallpapers visible even when the screen is locked/sleeping. This allows users to quickly check the time or notifications without touching their phone.

Crash Detection

Exclusive to the iPhone 14 series, the new Crash Detection capability can automatically detect severe auto crashes and notify emergency services if a user is unresponsive after an accident.

Emergency SOS via Satellite

Another groundbreaking safety feature – Emergency SOS via satellite connectivity allows users to message emergency services using satellites when outside of cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. Enabling users to get help from virtually anywhere.

Dynamic Island

While more of a design change, the front camera cutout pill on the 14 Pro Max also doubles as a convenient "Dynamic Island" for system alerts and background activities. An innovative take on the purpose of the front housing notch/cutout.

Verdict: The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers some game-changing exclusive capabilities with Emergency SOS satellite messaging, Crash Detection mode and an Always On display. Giving it unique appeal over the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Software and Long Term Support

A benefit of Apple‘s devices is extended software update support spanning 5-6+ years typically. As a result, both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max currently run the same iOS 16 platform. And both will receive major iOS updates for many years to come.

This essentially makes picking between them based on software capabilities almost a moot point. Since even buying the now 1 year old iPhone 13 Pro Max in late 2022 means you can still expect to get iOS support for the next 5+ years.

Making both exceptional options not just for short term use but for retaining high performance and functionality long into the future.

Verdict: The iPhones essentially tie when it comes to software and long term support. Both running iOS 16 now and likely to get 5-6 years of ongoing iOS updates.

Pricing and Value Comparison

Upon launch, the iPhone 14 Pro Max debuted at the same premium $1099+ pricing as the iPhone 13 Pro Max originally commanded. However, with the 13 Pro Max now being a generation old, it sees notable discounts from third party sellers.

Here is a look at current pricing for unlocked models in new or refurbished condition:

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (128GB) – $1099+ (Apple), $900+ (refurbs)
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max (128GB) – $799+ (refurb on Amazon)

Given the very modest upgrades and similarities in capabilities between the two devices, the now hundreds cheaper iPhone 13 Pro Max is much better value overall versus picking up a 14 Pro Max. Unless the new 48MP camera or safety features are an absolute must-have.

Verdict: The iPhone 13 Pro Max easily wins for overall value while still offering virtually the same performance and key features as the 14 Pro Max for $200+ less.

Conclusion – So iPhone 14 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro Max?

To recap, here is how the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max compare across the major categories:

  • Design – Nearly identical apart from front camera cutout style
  • Display – Very similar aside from Always-On display on 14 Pro Max
  • Cameras – 14 Pro Max upgraded camera takes this category
  • Performance – 14 Pro Max is ~10-15% faster but not hugely noticeable
  • Battery – Roughly equal per Apple estimates (pending further testing)
  • Features – 14 Pro Max gets exclusive additions like Emergency SOS, Crash Detection, etc.
  • Software – Both running iOS 16 and get 5+ years support
  • Value – iPhone 13 Pro Max easily wins based on pricing deals

Overall while the iPhone 14 Pro Max does bring a better camera, improved performance and some exclusive safety capabilities, the overall experience and core functionality remains very similar compared to the now much cheaper iPhone 13 Pro Max.

As a result, the iPhone 13 Pro Max likely makes more sense for the vast majority of users seeking a premium iPhone experience at hundreds less. However, early adopters who want those latest camera and safety upgrades may still find the 14 Pro Max to be worthwhile.

Are you still torn on the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max debate? Ask any remaining questions you have in the comments section below!

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